According to reports surfacing in the last hour or so, Sony are (as far as I can tell from a quick scout) suing Bridgestone and an advertising agency over – it appears – the inclusion of Jerry Lambert in a Bridgestone advert that featured the Nintendo Wii.
The advertising agency has Lambert as the president.
Jerry Lambert, who played the character Kevin Butler for SCEA for some time, recently appeared in a Bridgestone advertisement that had a Wii insert, sporting Mario Kart Wii. It was a part of a promotion by the tyre company in which buying a set of tyres bagged you a $70 credit card or – yes – a Wii.
About a week before the promotion ended, Bridgestone swapped out the advert for a Lambert-less version, but it’s since emerged that on September 11th Sony filed their complaint. I won’t pretend to understand the legalese, but the first filing is here, the second, dated a couple of days ago, is here.
Sony’s case appears to be based on Trademark Infringement of IP rather than being specifically about advertising a competitor’s product, even if it’s by extension. Does this mean Sony are claiming that the actor’s likeness is an IP?